Therapeutic Area: Post-Operative Pain

Based upon information from the National Center for Health Statistics, it is estimated that there are over 100 million surgeries performed in the United States each year. Of these surgeries, we believe at least 50 million procedures require post-operative pain medication. Additionally, despite efforts to improve the provision of perioperative analgesia, the proportion of patients reporting moderate to severe pain after surgery has remained constant over the past decade.

While opioids provide effective analgesia for post-operative pain, their use is increasingly limited due to the known side effects of nausea, vomiting, constipation, respiratory depression, the development of tolerance and the potential for impact on addiction, misuse and abuse. Due to the potential for abuse, opioids are regulated as controlled substances and are listed on Schedule II and III by the DEA. According to a January 2016 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, overdose deaths from prescription painkillers (defined to mean opioid or narcotic pain relievers) increased significantly over the past 14 years and emergency department visits involved with misusing or abusing prescription opioid painkillers increased 153% between 2004 and 2011. In the acute care setting, and according to the Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert on the Safe Use of Opioids in Hospitals, opioid analgesics rank among the drugs most frequently associated with adverse drug events. As a result of the addictive potential and side effects, pain sufferers tend to limit their use of opioids, resulting in as many as 40% of post-operative patients reporting inadequate pain relief. This can reduce the quality of life for individuals and, according to an August 2012 article in the Journal of Pain, creates an economic burden estimated to be at least $560 to $635 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity.

Efforts to improve pain control with multimodal analgesia are being recommended by many medical societies as a way to decrease opioid-related morbidity and mortality. Multimodal analgesia, or MMA, refers to the use of two or more drugs or nonpharmacologic interventions with differing mechanisms. Its use has been demonstrated to limit the amount of opioids consumed and provide more effective pain control than opioids alone. Effective MMA may further lessen the cost burden and personal toll of opioid-centric regimens. According to an April 2013 article in Pharmacotherapy, opioid-related adverse events negatively impact patients and the healthcare system and cause a 55% longer length of hospital stay, 47% higher cost of care, 36% higher 30-day readmission rates and a 3.4% higher risk of inpatient mortality.

We believe that IV meloxicam offers an attractive alternative for relief of moderate to severe pain. We also believe it can be an important part of an MMA approach for patients in the post-operative setting. Accordingly, we believe that physicians, hospitals and third-party payers, including Integrated Delivery Systems (IDNs), Medicare and Medicaid, are interested in new non-opioid pain therapies that provide effective post-operative pain relief without the adverse issues associated with opioids.